Ruth Atibor graduated with a first-class degree from Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State. She had 4.88 Cumulative Grade Point Average from the Department of Medical Laboratory Science. In this interview with PETER DADA, she speaks about her days in the university and how she was able to graduate with a first-class degree amidst financial challenge
Tell me about your background?
I’m from Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State. I’m a product of two loving parents, who instilled in me the importance of discipline, hard work, respect and humility. I am also the fifth of six children of my parents.
Why did you choose to study Medical Laboratory Science?
My main reason for choosing to study Medical Laboratory Science was because I saw it as a course providing an answer to my questions. I didn’t see myself as a medical laboratory scientist while growing up but I was lucky to have found out about Medical Laboratory Science before getting into university. Back then, I used to wonder what happened to the sample of blood taken from my body after every doctor’s appointment. As time went on, I got to know that there is a profession that provides answers to life and death decisions. I particularly like Immanuel Kant’s quote: “As a laboratory personnel, I believe with quality laboratory result, we can provide the best answers for the hypothesis that are made during the diagnosis and provide a better chance for treatment and hence save lives.” Medical Laboratory Science, as a profession, is the bedrock of modern medicine. So, I love it. Along the line, it became my dream course and it’s still my preferred field. If I had not studied the course, I would have considered Medicine or any other course related to that because I love anything relating to medicine and I’ve always wanted to be in that line.
How easy was it for you to gain admission?
I sat the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination three times before I eventually gained admission into Achievers University.
It may not have come easy graduating with a first-class degree. How did you do it?
It didn’t matter what I had heard before, but for me, I believe ‘impossible’ is not an option in life. I am an optimist and I believe that with God, everything is possible. Everything in life operates on principles. Once one follows it consistently, then the results would surely come forth. I quote from Benjamin Hardy’s words of wisdom: “Anything is possible if you are willing to pay the price.” All I did was trust God and devote more of my time to reading. Eventually, the prize – an excellent result – followed. If one could pay the price, one would get the prize and that has always been my belief.
What were the challenges you faced in the university?
The challenge I faced in the university was financial constraint. I could recall that prior to my resumption in my fifth year, I had issues with the payment of my school fees, and the thought of how to handle it disturbed my mind.
How did you get through that situation?
I put my trust in the Lord. All I did was to pray to God and God in his infinite mercy, provided for my parents, raised benefactors like Alli Ebenezer for me, and I’m grateful to him. I made sure that the challenge didn’t affect my performance.
How serious was the financial challenge?
Before we resumed for our final year, my initial benefactor had issues and eventually, she lost her job. As a result of that, the contribution to education cost in my family suffered drastically and resumption to 500 levels became a big problem. But thank God I finally made it. I remain grateful to all my benefactors, close friends and the Deeper Life Bible Church, Ifo, Ogun State. All these people made my education possible. There were times when I had to seek help from close friends when urgent needs arose in school. But here is this friend of mine, Alli Ebenezer, who I call my brother. He was the general coordinator of Deeper Life Campus Fellowship, Achievers chapter. He studied Computer Science. He stood by me and was my benefactor in my final year. God bless him.
Which of your courses did you find challenging the most?
The courses that required calculations! I had to review my approach to such courses. I committed extra time to reading tough courses, got help from my reading partners and I prayed some more. There is nothing as satisfying as accomplishing something that you thought you might not be able to do.
Were there times you almost gave up?
Yes, but each time I read through this quote by Baudjuin: “No matter how hard you work for success, if your thoughts are saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralise your endeavours and make success impossible,” it inspired me never to give up.
How would you have felt if you didn’t make a first-class degree?
Would I have felt bad? I don’t think so; after all, I would still have had a good result that would give me some leverage if I need to look for a job.
What are your aspirations in life?
My target in life is to be able to contribute to the research field of Medical Laboratory Science and grow professionally.
What roles did your parents and friends play in helping you achieve success while you were in school?
The best ideas came to my mind, sometimes when I was in the bathroom having my bath or while in bed. My conversations with my friends and sometimes my trip to class or church sparked those ideas. They came with ease, not by sitting at a desk for hours taxing my brain. Also, being surrounded by friends broadened my mind and it allowed me to see things from a different perspective. My parents supported me prayerfully and financially. They provided moral support and that gave me some strength to work harder.
How social were you in school?
I wasn’t a very social person, but I did things moderately.
How did you combine social activities with academic activities?
I prioritised all my tasks. There is a saying that there is time for everything and they say all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. However, when it was time for academic work, I gave it 100 per cent concentration; I didn’t joke with my studies at all.
Do you believe in having a role model?
Yes, God is my role model because through him, I became who I am today and also every person I come in contact with (is my role model). I try to take all the good qualities from such people and try to inculcate them consciously.
Some first class graduates take to being academics. Do you also have such a plan?
Yes, if it is the will of God.
Some people believe that public university students are better graduates than those from private universities. What is your view about that?
I stopped believing what people say long time ago. Some public universities live on past glory and cannot even offer better education than some of the top private universities in the country today. It is rather funny that we have spent time bashing private universities for doing the job of public universities instead of channelling the vexations to public universities, and the government by extension, for not doing enough. However, I can speak for my own school. With the kind of training students receive in Achievers University, we graduates of the university can compete with graduates of any university in the country.
What were your memorable moments as a university student?
The happiest moment of my life was on my induction day. It was indeed a day to remember. Though none of my parents came around but the Deeper Life Campus Fellowship family really made my day. I really felt loved. What I didn’t really like was my inability to touch the lives of those around me. I would have loved to do that but I couldn’t.
What would be your advice to students who also desire academic excellence?
God is the giver of balanced success; they should try not to leave God out of their lives. Also, they have to be ready to work because it’s a tough ride and nothing good comes easy. Through determination, discipline and hard work, they will get the prize. And they should not be deterred by what they have heard; impossible is not a word, it is just a reason for someone not to try.
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